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South African Universities and the Coronavirus

by zeenat

Mohammed Arai | 12 March 2020

The Health Minister, Dr. Zweli Mkhize, on Thursday, announced that South Africa now has 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus). In the wake of the outbreak, South African universities have announced precautionary measures to prevent its further spread.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) suspended its biometric access control system with effect from Thursday, 12 March 2020 “until further notice”.

Wits University followed suit and stated that the biometric access control system has been identified as a high risk for spreading the virus. Furthermore, the institution has developed a plan to allow staff and students to work and study from home, and shut down the university for a short period should coronavirus hit the institution.

Similar steps have been taken by the University of Pretoria on all its campuses as a “precautionary measure to minimise the possible spread of the virus.”

The University of Cape Town has urged its staff and students to practice good personal hand hygiene and cough etiquette and has shared important telephone numbers on its website.

At the University of Free State, a coronavirus task team consisting of stakeholders from its executive management, students and infectious diseases experts has been established.

The association representing South African universities, Universities South Africa (Usaf), had announced last month that vice-chancellors at all universities were briefed about the coronavirus outbreak from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

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